Josh Duggar is an Abuser and a Predator

[CN: physical abuse, sexual abuse. A more detailed description of a violent sexual encounter is at the In Touch link.]

A woman has come forward to detail her sexual encounters with Josh Duggar in the pages of In Touch magazine. (Readers may recall that In Touch was the magazine which initially broke the news about Duggar's abuse of his sisters and a non-family victim, back in May.) Danica Dillon met Duggar initially when she was performing as an exotic dancer at the Gold Club in Philadelphia. The story she tells isn't very pretty:

“He walked into the Gold Club like a normal patron and said he’d been a fan for a long time and has watched my career grow — he even said from before my boob job until recently — and that he loved watching my very first scene on [an adult website],” she tells In Touch. “Then it got creepy.”

After watching her show and "eyeballing me," Danica says he bought $600 in private dances and then “asked me how would he be able to spend the evening with me.” She reveals to In Touch that Josh was violent with her when they had sex, he did not use protection and gave her thousands of dollars after their encounters...

“I actually really hope that his wife leaves him and takes his children away from him and leaves him a lonely, bitter man. I don’t think he deserves happiness.”

Yesterday, Liss drew the link between Duggar's upbringing and his history of predation, noting that "repression demonstrably breeds, and disproportionately so, a particular kind of male predator who acts out in coercive and/or violent ways so as not to be exposed—and grooms their female victims so that victimization seems both normal and their own responsibility." And that's the thing about the entire Duggar "scandal"--it isn't a tale of schadenfreude and comeuppance, but of abuse and predation. Josh Duggar's behavior isn't a bug of the Duggar's Gothardite religious philosophy; it's a feature, as the story of Bill Gothard himself illustrates. And that "feature" has very serious real-life consequences.

One consequence? Josh Duggar's acts of sexual violence against a woman involved in sex work. His entire upbringing and religious viewpoint, with its emphasis on "purity" and blaming women for men's sexual indiscretions, gives him permission (in his mind) to view a woman who's been involved in erotic dance and performance as an object, a woman who is the antithesis of what women are "supposed" to be and do. Of course he not only frightened her with his sexual violence, he refused to use protection, signaling his utter contempt for her safety, as well as the safety of his other sexual partners. And of course he used the abuser's typical method--expansive and expensive gifts--to manipulate his victim afterwards. These are plays from a textbook case of abuse, and in Duggars' case, the Gothardite religious curriculum provided him the textbook long ago.

Duggar counted on Dillon's professional discretion, as well as her vulnerability, to keep up the veil of silence around his activities, just as he is continuing to count on the misogynistic culture of his religious community to force his wife into taking the blame for his abusive ways, both towards her and towards other women. He's gotten the benefit of the doubt that he somehow magically changed since abusing his sisters as a teenager, despite receiving no credible counseling. Instead, he was assured that marriage would magically "cure" his abusive sexuality, and provided him a new person to blame for his own failings: his wife. His parents and supporters seem astonished that he hasn't repented and changed his ways. Why would he? He has not only the general society's enabling of abuse behind him, but his own religious subculture's scapegoating of women to excuse him.

But there's a funny thing that often happens to abusive, predatory assholes. Their victims have a way of coming forward once we realize that there may be other victims out there, that we may be in a position to at least offer support and reassurance to those who have also suffered at the hands of this dirtbag. (*coughcough* Bill Cosby *coughcough*)

Of course, not every survivor can come forward; for one thing, it's not always safe to do so. But when we can, we often do--not because most women are vindictive scheming bitches looking to "take down" innocent men, as rape culture would have us believe. But because it's one small way to help others as we help ourselves escape the abusive power of a predator. In that light, Dillon's wish for Anna Duggar to leave her husband reads not so much as a statement of bitterness but as one of solidarity.

My very sincere sympathy and good wishes to Danica Dillon, who had to go through a horrible experience with Josh Duggar, and who will doubtless face vilification from the Duggars' many fans, and others who will sneer at her testimony because of her profession. My good wishes and sympathy as well to Anna Duggar, who has been unwillingly thrust into the spotlight, once again, thanks to her husband's abusive actions. I sincerely hope she will find a way to do what is best and safest for her.

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